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Origins

Specific reasons why scientists
don't believe in creation science

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Two major competing models of the Earth's past are:

New Earth creation Scientists generally conclude that:

bulletGod created all of the species during a short period of time, perhaps about 4004 BCE, and certainly not before 10,000 BCE.
bulletGod created all of the species of bacteria, primitive one-celled creatures, trilobites, dinosaurs, humans, etc. within a few days of each other. Just as The Flintstones cartoon shows, humans and dinosaurs wandered about the earth together.
bulletDuring the 40 days of rain and the approximately nine months of drainage of the Noachian flood, all of the land animals outside the ark were drowned. Various deposits were formed with sediment and the bodies of dead animals; their remains became fossils, embedded in rock layers.

Most scientists believe that a very different sequence of events happened:

bulletThat a primitive, one-celled life form came into existence by some series of natural processes, billions of years ago. Scientists are currently only dimly aware of the nature of these processes. 
bulletBillions of years later, this primitive life form had evolved into more complex species (e.g. trilobites), even as the primitive life forms became extinct.
bulletLater species evolved into Dinosaurs hundreds of millions of years ago. They died out, probably becuuse of extreme environmental changes brought about by a massive collision of an asteroid with the Earth. But new species that evolved from the dinosaurs and other species that were on earth with the dinosaurs continued to evolve.
bulletHomo Sapiens, Neanderthals, and some of the higher apes appeared much more recently, and shared a common ancestor. Neanderthals became extinct.
bulletAll during this extinction of old species and arrival of new species, individual animals died. A very small fraction of those with hard shells or a skeleton became converted to fossils and were embedded in rocks.
bulletMost scientists do not believe that any world-wide flood has occurred. There are serious questions about where all the water came from and went.

In addition, there are some Christians who believe that God created the universe billions of years ago. There are also hundreds of stories of origins taught by various religions around the world. We concentrate here on new earth creationism and the scientific consensus because these are the most commonly discussed belief systems.

Why scientists believe that creation science's concepts of origins are wrong:

The above are two very different models of the past. It is fairly simple to show why almost all scientists reject the creation science model:

bulletIf creation science is correct, then the fossils and sedimentary rocks were formed quickly during the flood. Fossil-containing rocks which are closer to the surface will contain generally larger animals of all the species that have ever lived, while the deeper rocks will tend to contain more smaller species of animals. That is because the smaller animals would presumably drown first with the rising water level, while larger animals could survive longer before dying, and travel further from the rising flood waters. But there would be the occasional fossil from a large animal mixed in with the smaller animals deep in the fossil record. Remains of ground-hugging plants would tend to be in the deepest layers of rocks; larger trees would be in rocks closer to the surface. But there would be the occasional fossils of a fallen tree that would be trapped in a deep layer of sedimentary rock among "ground-huggers".

If you looked long enough, you would find (for example) the occasional dinosaur mixed in with human remains. You would find a Jurassic Cycad (an extinct tree) mixed with some more modern Maple trees. Trilobites would be found everywhere. As Charles Pellegrino stated:

"As we dug deeper and deeper beneath Thebes, everything would be the same; we would find hand axes, clams and dinosaurs mixed together all the way down." 1

In addition, as you excavated through layers of rock, you would occasionally discover signs of human habitation at the bottom layer -- cities, towns,villages, cornerstones, etc. -- which were covered first by the flood. Scientists would find shaped rocks that were once part of buildings; remains of campfires; fabricated tools; fabricated timbers, graves, corner stones, etc. at the bottom of the fossil record.

bulletIf the Theory of Evolution is correct then the fossil record and sedimentary rocks were formed over many hundreds of millions of years, as species evolved. One would expect to see that deeper rocks would contain more primitive forms of live, and shallower fossils would be of more highly evolved species. The tens of thousands of geologists and paleontologists working over the past centuries would never find a single Jurassic Cycad fossil mixed in with a Maple tree fossil. That is because Maples emerged during the more recent Cretaceous era when the Cycads were long extinct. Dinosaurs would never be mixed with the remains of humans, dogs, cats and other modern mammals. Only a primitive, small mammalian species would be found together with Dinosaurs. And no mammals or dinosaurs at all would be found with trilobites (an early form of life that is long extinct). There would be no signs of human habitation at the lowest layer; only very primitive life forms. In fact, there are probably at least 1 million pairs of species that would never be found together in the same rock layer.

In brief:

bulletIf creation science is true, then the fossil record, from bottom to top would be mainly composed of gradually larger species. But there would be the occasional random mixture of species as well: trilobites with humans with dinosaurs with maples with Cycad trees. Species would be somewhat mixed. The very bottom layers would include signs of human habitation.
bulletIf the theory of evolution is true, then the fossil record, from bottom to top, would show gradually more complex, less primitive species. And certain species would be only found in certain layers; they would never be found in others. A trilobite would never be found with a dinosaur; a dinosaur would never be found with a human fossil. Species would be rigidly segregated. There would be no signs of human habitation in the lowest layers.

Scientists have concluded that the theory of evolution is true. They have travelled to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and to thousands of other locations around the world,  and studied the fossil record. They have found fossils of thousands of species of plants and animals which evolutionary scientists believe did not exist on the earth simultaneously. The older species died out before the first member of the more recent species evolved. They can pick any pair of species (e.g. dinosaurs and humans). The found that the fossils of the two species have never been found together. Also, archaeologist have never found remains of ancient villages and towns in and below the oldest layers of rock.

The vast majority of scientists working in the field of biology and geology have concluded that the teachings of Creation Science are incompatible with the observed fossil record. To continue with Charles Pellegrino's quotation:

"... we begin to see the stages of a lengthy history, in which dinosaurs and other creatures are segregated in specific layers of rock, and the farther back we track along the stream of time, the more unlike modern creatures the animals become".

In short, the distribution of fossils in rock is a persuasive indicator that convinces scientists that young-earth creation science is false.

Additional reasons why most scientists disbelieve in creation science:

Scientists completed analyzing core samples taken from the bed of the Atlantic Ocean in early 1997. Their three drill samples taken from three locations off the east coast of Florida. 1,2 Their drills penetrated up to 92 meters (300 feet) showed:

bulletthe deepest layers contained evidence of many species of animals and came from what the project leader, paleobioligist Dr. Richard Norris, called a "happy-go-lucky" ocean.
bulletabove this was a small layer with green glass pebbles, that were originally fused under intense heat. This is believed to be ocean bottom material that was instantly melted by the intense energy release of a colliding asteroid
bulletnext was a rusty brown layer that is thought to be from the "vaporized remains of the asteroid itself," dated about 65 million years ago. This layer is found elsewhere in the world and contains a high content of iridium, which is a chemical "signature" of asteroids.
bulletabove this is about 5 centimeters (2 inches) of gray clay with strong evidence of a nearly dead ocean. "It was not a completely dead ocean, but most of the species that are seen before [earlier in the core sample] are gone. There are just some very minute fossils. These were the survivors in the ocean"
bulletabove this layer, core samples showed evidence of renewed life.

These results showed that the iridium layer, which has been found at many locations around the world on land, is also observable in the ocean bed. Fossils of highly developed species (man, large mammals, etc.) have never been found below that layer; fossils of ancient species (dinosaurs, trilobites, and a few tens of thousands of other species) have never been found above that layer. If all species were created within a one week period, as described in Genesis, and all the land animals were preserved on Noah's ark, then all land species would be found both above and below the iridium layer.

Some reasons why many scientists believe Genesis to be inaccurate:

There are additional indicators why many scientists believe that the order of creation described in Genesis could not have happened:

bulletSome plants rely upon birds and ants for propagation. If plants were created on Day 3, and birds and ants were created on Day 5 and 6, and if each Genesis "day" is equal to 1000 or more real years (as some creation scientists believe), then some plants would have had to survive without propagation for thousands of years. To other creation scientists who believe that a "day" in Genesis is literally 24 hours, then this does not present a problem.
bulletThe fossil record clearly shows that land animals developed before birds. But the Genesis account indicates the reverse.

Scientists have found many other indicators that other parts of the book of Genesis are in error. Some examples are:

bulletTheologians have generally agreed that the Bible teaches that the earth is less than 10,000 years of age. However, in Wyoming, the Green River Formation shows that varves -- a 260 meters thick formation made from annual layers of sediment -- were laid down for the past 2 million years. 3 Ice core samples have been taken in Greenland that show 40,000 annual layers of ice. In each case, one detectable layer of sediment or ice is laid down each year.
bulletThe Bible said that Noah loaded the entire ark with two (or seven) from each species within a 24 hour day. This would have required him to have taken into the vessel, classified and stored 480 species per second.
bulletNoah took his wife, three sons, and three daughters-in-law into the ark. Each person would have had to sort, house, look after, feed, water, and remove the excrement from about 5 million animals each day.
bulletNoah is said to have built an all-wooden arc about 450 feet long. Long wooden ships, some as long as 300 feet, have actually been built, but they required extensive metal reinforcing - an option not available to Noah. And they leaked badly, requiring either a large crew or mechanically driven pumps to remove water from the hold. Motor driven pumps were not available in those days, and there were not enough humans on the arc to manually pump the water.
bulletMany animals can only survive in certain small regions of the earth where the food supply and temperatures are ideal. These species could not have left their homeland, moved through jungle and desert in order to reach the arc; they would not have survived the journey.
bulletThere was no mechanism whereby animals found only in North America, South America, and Australia could cross oceans and arrive at the arc.
bulletWhen there are fewer than about 40 members to a species, extinction is inevitable, even when massive human intervention occurs. After the flood there would have been only 2 or 7 members to each species; they would not have survived.
bulletThe Bible states that the Tower of Babel was constructed 110 to 150 years after the flood. One might ask how could the 3 fertile female human survivors of the flood (Noah's daughters in law) produce such a large number of descendants within 6 generations?
bulletThere is no indication of a worldwide flood in ancient Egyptian, Indus or Chinese writings, temples, pyramids, sculptures, etc.,  which existed at the time of Noah. Yet, if the flood really did occur, then all of the world's early civilizations would have been completely destroyed. The entire population of the world would have consisted of 8 people, in the vicinity of the ark. It would have taken millennia for humanity to become re-established in China and elsewhere. Also, they would have developed a very different culture from the pre-flood society. The archaeological record in Egypt would show a sudden change from ancient Egyptian artifacts, to no signs of civilization, to ancient Israelite culture after the time of the flood. The archaeological record in China would show a sudden change from ancient Chinese artifacts, to no signs of civilization, to ancient Israelite culture after the time of the flood. And so on. But the archaeological record shows that the various cultures were not interrupted; they continued to develop throughout the period when the flood is supposed to have happened. For example, the Egyptian "Old Kingdom" covered the era from 2649 BCE to 2134 BCE, the 3rd to the 8th dynasty. In particular, the fifth dynasty covered the interval 2465 to 2323 BCE, straddling the time when religious conservatives believe that the flood happened.
bulletOne might ask how would the fish survive? Some fish require fresh water, some brackish water and some salt water. If sufficient water were added to the oceans so that the level rose above that of the highest mountains, then the salinity of the oceans would drastically change. There would have been a mass die-off of fish species; only a few tolerant ocean fish would have survived. The salt content of all the fresh water lakes in the world would drastically increase, causing a die-off of numerous fish species found only in fresh water. None of this happened, except in one small area of the world: the Black Sea circa 5600 BCE. This is believed by many scientists to be the source of the world-wide flood myth of ancient Babylonian that was adopted by the ancient Jewish writers who wrote the Bible.

References:

  1. Paul Recer, Associated Press news release, 1997-FEB-17.
  2. U.S. News & World Report, 1997-MAR-3. Page 18.
  3. John Banister-Marx & Larry Flammer, "Varves: Dating sedimentary strata," Evolution & the Nature of Science Institutes, (1999) at: http://www.indiana.edu/

Copyright © 1996 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-OCT-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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